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ShanahanMan

Free Agency Thread

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The Edmonton Oilers agreed to terms with goaltender Martin Gerber on a one-year, two-way contract on Friday. Gerber played last year with Altant Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). He went 15-6-6 with a 2.19 GAA and .914 save percentage.

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NHL piece on remaining free agents -

Lost in a summer that has kept us entertained with the ongoing Ilya Kovalchuk saga, the plethora of veteran unrestricted free agents still available and the salary cap rearing its ugly head in Chicago is another story that merits attention in the hockey world.

There are still several well-known restricted free agents who remain left wide open for teams to swoop in and sign to an offer sheet. Handing out offer sheets to other teams' restricted free agents isn't done cavalierly in the NHL, but it is a practice that has been tried in the past.

For instance, there is the infamous case of the Oilers' giving Dustin Penner an offer sheet of five years and a reported $21.25 million in the summer of 2007. It infuriated then-Anaheim GM Brian Burke, who chose not to match it, thus letting Penner walk to Edmonton.

Let's not forget also that just last month San Jose GM Doug Wilson drove up the price of Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson by signing him to an offer sheet reportedly worth four years and $14 million. The Hawks did match it to keep Hjalmarsson on their roster, but that contract could also be the reason that Cup-winning goalie Antti Niemi was not retained.

Nobody is predicting that any of the 11 players we're about to mention will sign with another team, but there's always a chance and then we would have a much bigger story. Either way, here is a list of restricted free agents that are young, talented, marketable and waiting.

Carey Price, Montreal -- This one is interesting on so many levels. For one, the Canadiens gave up some of their negotiating power when they traded Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis, thereby making Price the man in La Belle Province. However, Price hasn't done enough yet in the League (60-48-18, 2.73 GAA) to warrant a mega-deal. He has also shown a lack of maturity at times, such as in the playoffs last season against Washington. However, Price is only 22 years old and he's clearly the goalie of the future in Montreal, a city that hangs on everything the Habs do.

Marc Staal, New York Rangers -- GM Glen Sather doesn't seem the least bit concerned about the guy many believe will be or already is the Blueshirts' cornerstone defenseman. Sather has said publicly that he will match any offer sheet Staal signs, so there really is no rush to get him under contract. Staal told the TBnewswatch.com in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ont., that "there hasn't really been too much going on. There's nothing really to report on." He's waiting patiently, but he definitely wants a raise and he'll likely get it.

Bobby Ryan, Anaheim -- This one has gone public. Ducks GM Bob Murray in late June told the Orange County Register that they initially offered Ryan "a pretty good five-year offer between $20-25 million." A week later, Murray went public again, saying the offer was increased to five years at $5 million per. Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register said Ryan turned down that deal. It's been quiet since, which has obviously led to some speculation that he's unhappy and open to an offer sheet. Then again, the Ducks may be waiting for just that so they can match it and finally get Ryan under contract. He is coming off back-to-back 30-goal seasons.

Steve Downie, Tampa Bay -- Downie had 22 goals, 46 points and 208 penalty minutes in 79 games last season after compiling only 18 points in his first 65 NHL games from 2007-09. He benefitted greatly by playing on the same line as Rocket Richard co-winner Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. He should be a part of the Bolts' scary-looking top six again as GM Steve Yzerman told the St. Petersburg Times that he has reached out to Downie's agent, Rick Curran, to begin contract talks. "My intention is to get him signed as soon as possible," Yzerman said.

Patric Hornqvist, Nashville -- The Predators' top offensive threat had 30 goals in 81 games last season after scoring only 2 goals in 28 games as a rookie in 2008-09. Nashville GM David Poile has been negotiating with Hornqvist's agent, Craig Oster, according to The Tennessean. The Predators have no salary cap concerns, so it's just a matter of finding the right deal. Likely comparisons are the deals already signed by the Islanders' Matt Moulson (one year, reported $2.45 million), Vancouver's Mason Raymond (two years, reported $2.55 million per) and Tomas Fleischmann (one year, reported $2.6 million).

Chris Stewart, Colorado -- Stewart was a big part of the Avalanche's resurgence this past season, as he put up 28 goals and 64 points along with a plus-4 rating in 77 games after scoring only 19 points with a minus-18 rating in 53 games as a rookie in '08-09. Colorado will want to keep a good thing going, so it's unlikely they're going to let the dance with Stewart go on for too long, resulting in a possible hold-out in training camp. There are no problems with the salary cap either, as according to capgeek.com the Avs still have to spend to get to the floor.

James Neal, Dallas -- Neal experienced a bump in his production from his rookie season to his second season as he went from 24 to 27 goals and from 13 to 28 assists. He played in only one more game (78 vs. 77). Clearly he got better, but how much are the Stars willing to shell out in cash for him? Neal had comparable numbers to Moulson, Fleischmann and Raymond. Those are likely three contracts that GM Joe Nieuwendyk will be looking at in the negotiations with Neal.

Bryan Little, Atlanta -- He falls into Setoguchi's category as a promising player whose production fell off this past season, his third in the NHL. Little scored 30 goals and 51 points in '08-09, but only 13 goals and 34 points in '09-10. He played in the same number of games (79) each season. This fall off in production likely has made finding the right deal for Little more confusing. Is he a top-six, 30-goal scorer or is he a bottom-six guy? His history from junior hockey, when he scored 153 goals in four seasons with the Barrie Colts, suggests the former.

Peter Mueller, Colorado -- Mueller went from a disappointment in Phoenix to a major part of Colorado's young core when he was shipped to Denver on March 3. He put up 20 points in only 15 games with the Avs after producing 17 points in 54 games for the Coyotes. Mueller wasn't available in the playoffs due to a concussion, the second in his short career. He's a promising player, a former first-round pick, and someone the Avalanche are looking to for big contributions. The price, though, remains to be seen.

Sam Gagner, Edmonton -- He's only 20 years old and already he has put up three straight seasons of 40-plus points. This past season, Gagner duplicated his 41-point performance from 2008-09, but he did so in eight fewer games. Because he's so young you don't hear the clamoring for him to really put a bump in that production to upwards of 60-plus points. However, with youth being the optimal word around Edmonton, Gagner fits right in. From the '07 Draft, only Patrick Kane has more points than Gagner's 131.

Niclas Bergfors, Atlanta -- It took a trade to Atlanta to get Bergfors' NHL career steaming in the right direction. He was solid for the Devils with 27 points in 54 games, but coach Jacques Lemaire wasn't a big fan. Bergfors was part of the Ilya Kovalchuk trade in February and he finished with 17 points in 27 games for Atlanta. The 23-year-old Swede is a former first-round pick who oozes potential, but he's still a few good years away from getting his big contract.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

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Ramö to Montreal and Desjardins to Tampa... Wow stevie and boucher seem to love them francophones

Edited by mindfly
55fan likes this

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From TSN :

Swedish website Aftonbladet is reporting that Fredrik Modin has signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Thrashers. Financial terms of the deal were not released.

...

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From TSN :

It appears as though the Atlanta Thrashers are about to add some depth at forward. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the team has signed Nigel Dawes to a one-year, two-way contract.

According to the AJC, the deal is worth $600,000 at the NHL level and $105,000 at the AHL level.

...

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From TSN :

Ruslan Fedotenko has confirmed that he has accepted an offer from the New York Rangers to attend their training camp on a tryout basis.

...

From TSN :

The Phoenix Coyotes have taken care of their last remaining bit of housekeeping as the team announced Friday that they had signed restricted free agent Martin Hanzal to a two-year deal worth $3.6 million.

...

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From TSN :

Restricted free agent Marc Staal and the New York Rangers have agreed to terms on a new five-year contract extension, just days before the start of training camp.

The 23-year-old defenceman will earn $3.975 million per year, a raise over the three-year, $2.48 million entry-level contract he just completed.

...

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From TSN :

The Anaheim Ducks signed free-agent defenceman Paul Mara to a one-year, US$750,000 contract on Thursday, bolstering a blue line that will be missing another new signee when training camp opens this weekend.

...

Is the "missing another new signee" part why Lilja got the invite?

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From TSN:

It appears as though the Minnesota Wild have a backup plan after losing Josh Harding for the season.

Montreal radio station CKAC is reporting that the Wild have signed goaltender Jose Theodore to a one-year, $1.1 million contract.

...

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From TSN:

The Vancouver Canucks have parted ways with Brendan Morrison after the club released him from his professional tryout contract on Sunday.

From Sportsnet:

Sportsnet has learned veteran centre Kyle Wellwood has signed with Atlant Moscow Oblast (KHL).

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Fedotenko will fit in perfectly with the Rangers.... a somewhat talented player who plays hard about 15% of the time.

From TSN:

Ruslan Fedotenko has been rewarded for his strong pre-season as he has signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the New York Rangers.

...

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